When I was growing up, my parents set up a POSB Savings Account for my brothers and me. We deposited our Chinese New Year ang pows into the account every year (well, in the early years, I think it was my parents who deposited it for us, because babies are too short for over-the-counter banking).
We were even taught to save our allowance, to put aside some of it for a rainy day. At one stage, I was so hardcore at saving my allowance, I even went without buying food during recess, bringing food from home instead. Partly because I was saving up for a really cool yo-yo, that the school bus auntie sold on the bus (along with snacks like “rat satay”).
I still remember the old National School Savings Campaign, run by the Postal Savings Bank, later called the POSB. We saved by buying 10 cent stamps, then fixed the stamps on cards until we had $2 of stamps. The filled card would then be dropped off at the bank as a deposit.
I remember there was Smiley the Squirrel, admonishing us to save. I also remember the sticky fingers (mine, not Smiley the Squirrel’s) from handling all those savings stamps. Good times.
So when we had kids of our own, the wife and I also chose to impart this saving ethic to them. I look at their bank accounts now, and feel a little poor but proud. They have quite a bit of ang pow money saved in there.
On a daily basis, they also set aside their allowance. I allow some of the allowance to go towards a toy fund, but there must be some set aside for pure savings.
I lugged some of those coins from their allowance piggy banks to the coin sorting machine recently. It was really heavy but satisfying to deposit their savings for them.
You know what? POSB is bringing back the National School Savings Campaign, supported by MOE. I am quite excited about it. Yes, the saving stamps, the stamp card, and even Smiley the Squirrel.
Find out more about the campaign here and pledge your support.
Parents and primary school students can get their POSB National School Savings stamp card from any POSB/DBS branch, SingPost outlet and at Pacific or Popular bookstores in schools from 2nd February 2015 onwards. Students can then deposit the completed stamp card into any POSB/DBS Quick Cheque Deposit location and earn a $1 bonus (limited to one stamp card per child, per month and only valid for POSBkids account holders).
Sign up here for an ePOSBkids account if your child doesn’t have one.
If anything, stamps will be way easier to carry to the bank than a 5kg bag of coins.
[Image of old POSB stamp card above by Mel Naa, used with permission]
The kids have been bugging me for a better phone (the son uses a Nokia cameraless Stupid, sorry, Feature Phone, and the youngest daughter has no phone at all). So I decided it was time for an upgrade. This Nokia 208 Dual Sim model comes with a 1.3MP camera, radio, music player, and even supports Facebook and YouTube over 3.5G.
Not that the kids will get to go online (I am withholding the data plan till they are older) but it is nice to have that option.
For now, they can call us, SMS us, take some photos, and listen to some MP3s. That's already way more than I could do when I was in Primary School.
A couple of months back, John of drew&barry asked if I wanted to try some of their camera bags and accessories. You know me, bag addict that I am, I said, "Sure!"
The Wotancraft Ryker was the bag I got to use, and I have to say, this bag oozes luxury and leather loveliness. I am told this bag is not always available for sale because the Wotancraft folk are really fussy about the premium leather they use, so if that leather is not available, they won't make the bag.
The Ryker is just the right size for my mirrorless cameras and lenses, but I found it most suitable for my Fuji X100 cameras, both in size and in spirit.
I can carry an X100S (the silver one on the left) and an X100T (the black one on the right) in it, together with the WCL-X100 Wide conversion lens and TCL-X100 Tele conversion lens (seen in the middle). There is space to spare for other accessories like batteries and memory cards, and also a suede sleeve with flap, for my iPad Mini 3.
It is not the lightest bag in the world, since this much leather and metal does make it somewhat on the heavy side. But it isn't mean to be an ultralight travel bag anyway.
And another plus, I love that they don't use velcro or buckles, just a simple leather strip to hold the main flap down. Or if you want quick access, just leave the big flap be and use the magentic catches.
You can also close the inner main compartment with the zippered top cover for security, and leave it unzipped for quick access during use.
The hand strap on my silver Fuji X100S is a Barton1972 strap. I love the feel of it. The stretchiness of the strap design feels very natural. My black Fuji X100T is fitted with a longer Cub & Co. shoulder strap.
And who can resist decorating the X100's with soft shutter release buttons? These are Artisan Obscura ones made of wood. The only small annoyance I have is they sometimes come unscrewed. Nothing that can't be fixed with a little Loctite.
Just to be clear, this isn't a paid post. I shared this because I like their stuff and they make my cameras happy. Also, I have a soft spot for the smell and feel of premium leather and the look of real wood.
I just hope auntie next door didn't think I was off my rocker taking photos along the corridor, on my tummy.
We were at the mall today, to deposit the piggy bank coins that the kids have been diligently saving from their allowance. It was heavy to lug those coins to the machine, but fascinating to watch the machine count the coins so well.
Faith didn't quite like it there and she freaked out a little. It was probably the crowd and the music and the general noisiness overwhelming her senses. She can be a little vocal when she expresses her displeasure.
It is always interesting to see the reactions of people when Faith screams or shouts in a public place like this.
Some stare. Some look on with a smile of empathy.
Some actually get up from their seats and scurry away.
Faith's younger siblings ask me, "Why do they do that? Cheh Cheh is not a monster. They are being silly."
I tell them it's ok. Some people just don't understand the quirks of her autism so they are afraid. Or they think they might be blamed for causing her behaviour. People fear what they don't understand.
We who understand our daughter's condition, also understand why people don't understand. So we rarely get mad at them.
My buddies and I watched Brotherhood of Blades (绣春刀) in Penang because we were bored (hey you can only have six meals a day before you run out of space for awesome hawker food).
Also, movie tickets in Malaysia are so much cheaper than Singapore.
Didn't know a single Chinese actor or actress there but the made-in-China movie was not bad. Great fight scenes and a conspiracy plot that was actually easy to follow.
The story is about three sworn brothers-in-arms in the Ming Dynasty, who are lowly Imperial Assassins (kind of like Black Ops grunts) in over their heads with political intrigue, conspiracies and evil plots.
The women in the movie were generally 花瓶, to look cute or helpless, which was annoying. And sometimes, the acting was over the top.
Once in a while, you see a lost-looking extra who is supposed to be an elite soldier looking like an clueless recruit just out of BMT.
Still, production values remained generally high. Sometimes the show gets a little too violent for my taste.
The Chinese language used in the dialogue was cheem, flowery and beautiful, even to someone like me, whose Chinese isn't that great. Still, I was thankful for English subtitles.
LTA launches a taxi app that lets you see available taxis around you… but does not let you book taxis. Slow clap.
LTA Can't-Book-a-Taxi taxi app: "Hey look, another available taxi you can't book! Hey look, another available taxi you can't book! Hey look, another available taxi you can't book!"
Isn't it fun to monitor taxi movement, folks?
LTA statement: "With this information, commuters can better decide whether to continue waiting for a taxi on the street, walk to a location with more available taxis, book a taxi instead, or make alternative transport arrangements."
I suggest that LTA takes this app to the back of the barn and shoot it, to put it out of its misery.